Tenants evicted as Westgate site plans advance

The Abbey Place flats

The Abbey Place flats

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

RESIDENTS in an Oxford block of flats have been told to leave by the end of the month to make way for the £400m Westgate redevelopment.

Flats at Abbey Place are to be demolished to make way for a John Lewis department store.

It marks the end of a long-running saga over the demolition decision, which one resident failed to overturn at a judicial review.

Work will start early next year on a major extension to the centre, to include shops, restaurants, a cinema and underground car park.

Alessandro Oliveira moved 60-year-old mother-in-law Judith Leal out last week.

He said: “She has been living here since 2009 and the first time the contract was for six months and they told us the place would be reclaimed any time for the development, but we took the risk.

“The move has been going well and she has been fine about it. We have managed to find a place for her which is better than this one.”

But another resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It is very hard to find somewhere else to live and I need help to find a house.”

Developer the Westgate Alliance – made up of The Crown Estate and Land Securities – is hoping to submit a planning application in the coming weeks.

If given planning permission by Oxford City Council work could start early next year.

The council forced the sale of the flats using a compulsory purchase order and some of the flats are already boarded up Resident and multiple sclerosis sufferer Vincent McKeown, who died in 2009, lost a 2007 bid for a judicial review to stop the sale. It was then sold to developers.

Council leader Bob Price said: “The developers obviously want the flats back and we are handling the residents as we do all tenants whose landlords wish to take their property back.

“Our housing section is in the process of finding alternative accommodation for them.”

Westgate Alliance spokesman Leanne Parkinson said: “While all tenants at Abbey Place were advised from the outset that their tenancies were short-term opportunities, we understand that it isn’t always easy to find a new place to live, which is why we’ve been liaising closely with Oxford City Council’s housing team to ensure there is on-going support available.

“Council housing officers have already been in touch with tenants to outline the help they can provide and we will continue to liaise with the council to support this process.”

 

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Comments (6)

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12:52pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Myron Blatz says...

Seems a fair trade - replace a block of much-needed social housing flats and its tenants who probably shop at Tesco and Poundland ... with an up-market John Lewis store, as the flagship retailer in the planned Westgate redevelopment! Let's face it, how many of those projected extra tourists and up-market shoppers really want to see social housing accommodation, when City Council has already thrown public money down the 'pan' and invested in 'world-class' public toilet facilities?
Seems a fair trade - replace a block of much-needed social housing flats and its tenants who probably shop at Tesco and Poundland ... with an up-market John Lewis store, as the flagship retailer in the planned Westgate redevelopment! Let's face it, how many of those projected extra tourists and up-market shoppers really want to see social housing accommodation, when City Council has already thrown public money down the 'pan' and invested in 'world-class' public toilet facilities? Myron Blatz
  • Score: -7

1:36pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Seems a fair trade - replace a block of much-needed social housing flats and its tenants who probably shop at Tesco and Poundland ... with an up-market John Lewis store, as the flagship retailer in the planned Westgate redevelopment! Let's face it, how many of those projected extra tourists and up-market shoppers really want to see social housing accommodation, when City Council has already thrown public money down the 'pan' and invested in 'world-class' public toilet facilities?
Myron

Just because somebody lives in Social Housing it doesn't mean to say they have neither class nor personal standards.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Seems a fair trade - replace a block of much-needed social housing flats and its tenants who probably shop at Tesco and Poundland ... with an up-market John Lewis store, as the flagship retailer in the planned Westgate redevelopment! Let's face it, how many of those projected extra tourists and up-market shoppers really want to see social housing accommodation, when City Council has already thrown public money down the 'pan' and invested in 'world-class' public toilet facilities?[/p][/quote]Myron Just because somebody lives in Social Housing it doesn't mean to say they have neither class nor personal standards. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 14

2:35pm Tue 2 Sep 14

gothicfairy10 says...

in a time where oxford is one of the most depserate countys for social housing has this really been thoroughly considered?
unfortunately myron as much as you may have a point in your sarcastic comment. you lose all argument by sounding as judgemental as you do about the people who are lving in social housing.
in a time where oxford is one of the most depserate countys for social housing has this really been thoroughly considered? unfortunately myron as much as you may have a point in your sarcastic comment. you lose all argument by sounding as judgemental as you do about the people who are lving in social housing. gothicfairy10
  • Score: 6

10:22pm Tue 2 Sep 14

GaryOxford says...

gothicfairy10 wrote:
in a time where oxford is one of the most depserate countys for social housing has this really been thoroughly considered?
unfortunately myron as much as you may have a point in your sarcastic comment. you lose all argument by sounding as judgemental as you do about the people who are lving in social housing.
Has any housing decision in Oxford ever been thoroughly considered?
Housing is in Oxford is some of the most expensive in the country because the council have been unwilling or unable to ensure adequate supply.
[quote][p][bold]gothicfairy10[/bold] wrote: in a time where oxford is one of the most depserate countys for social housing has this really been thoroughly considered? unfortunately myron as much as you may have a point in your sarcastic comment. you lose all argument by sounding as judgemental as you do about the people who are lving in social housing.[/p][/quote]Has any housing decision in Oxford ever been thoroughly considered? Housing is in Oxford is some of the most expensive in the country because the council have been unwilling or unable to ensure adequate supply. GaryOxford
  • Score: 2

11:30pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Myron Blatz says...

Sarcasm, not snobnery! What do you expect, when it's a Labour-led City Council which could have built much needed world-class social inner-city housing instead of redeveloping and expanding Westgate - but instead chose to go for a glitzy world-class redevelopment of shops and higher commercial revenue income potential. All our family on both sides come from working class and socialist backgrounds, but my own father and grandfather would turn in their graves at Labour in Oxford, as they probably did when Gordon Brown bailed-out the banks!
Sarcasm, not snobnery! What do you expect, when it's a Labour-led City Council which could have built much needed world-class social inner-city housing instead of redeveloping and expanding Westgate - but instead chose to go for a glitzy world-class redevelopment of shops and higher commercial revenue income potential. All our family on both sides come from working class and socialist backgrounds, but my own father and grandfather would turn in their graves at Labour in Oxford, as they probably did when Gordon Brown bailed-out the banks! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

11:43pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Myron Blatz says...

Sorry, that should have opened with 'sarcasm not snobbery' and goes to prove that even reasonably well-educated working-class socialists can make typing mistakes, and leave 'judgemental' to others much more experienced in such matters.
Sorry, that should have opened with 'sarcasm not snobbery' and goes to prove that even reasonably well-educated working-class socialists can make typing mistakes, and leave 'judgemental' to others much more experienced in such matters. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

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